D-Day 70th anniversary: Trevor Beattie, the ad man who helped hundreds of veterans get to Normandy

 

The advertising guru who created campaigns for Wonderbra and New Labour is the unlikely figure who has helped hundred of Normandy veterans return to France for the D-Day commemorations, for what may be the last time.

Trevor Beattie set up a charity to support the veterans after reading a 2008 front-page story in The Independent about how many could not afford to return for the 65th anniversary in 2009. At the time, the government offered little funding for veterans to return to former war zones except for 50th and 100th anniversaries.

Mr Beattie felt he could help the “living heroes” and he teamed up with the comedian Eddie Izzard to raise close to £500,000. That helped more than 800 veterans to attend the 65th anniversary.

The advertising man from Birmingham gave £30,000 of his own money to help  veterans from the Midlands to travel in 2009. In 2010, he set up the Jack and Ada Beattie Foundation – named after his late parents – and used his celebrity connections to stage fundraisers, including a dinner last weekend aboard HMS Belfast in London.

Mr Beattie, who was in Normandy yesterday, said the 70th anniversary had special significance because the Normandy Veterans Association will be disbanded at the end of the year. “A lot of them are hanging on for this,” he added.

 

He said part of the reason he was so moved by The Independent’s 2008 article was because it was published in a paper that does not have a jingoistic reputation. “What I loved was that it was written by The Independent — not by the Telegraph or the Mail or The Guardian – and it managed to do it without using the phrase ‘Our Boys’ in the headline,” said Mr Beattie. “It was a calm, respectful piece.”

The Government and the National Lottery have provided greater support for the 70th anniversary.

Mr Beattie admitted his involvement might seem surprising, given some of his controversial work, such as the Labour election poster he designed that merged the faces of William Hague and Margaret Thatcher. “I’m very ‘Bob Geldof’ about D-Day,” he explained. “The stuff I’ve done in advertising is no big deal. It’s just made people sit up and take notice and sell a few things. I’ve tried to use the same skills for D-Day.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower